A United Nations expert took aim at the international community for paying lip service to a "two-state solution" while failing to confront Israel with any meaningful response to its swelling settlement activity and steps towards "annexation" of all Palestinian land.
In his statement on Wednesday, Michael Lynk, the U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, noted that all Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under international law.
"The Israeli settlements are the engine of the 51-year long occupation. This occupation will not die of old age, but only with the resolute imposition of consequences on Israel for ignoring international law and numerous United Nations resolutions," he stated.
Lynk's statement comes days after settlers shot dead a Palestinian father in the West Bank village of al-Mughayyir. As Mondoweiss reports:
Palestinian officials and local media outlets reported that a group of Israeli settlers raided the village under the protection of armed Israeli soldiers—a common occurrence in areas of the West Bank located close to settlements—causing clashes to erupt with Palestinian residents of the village, who tried to fend off the settlers.
During the confrontations, a settler reportedly shot and killed 38-year-old Hamdi Saadeh Naasan.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a statement that Naasan, a father of four young children and a former prisoner, arrived to the hospital in critical condition and succumbed to his wounds shortly afterwards.
The ministry also said that Israeli settlers shot Naasan in his back with live ammunition.
Referencing that incident in his statement, Lynk said such events "not only violate numerous human rights such as the rights to life, security of the person, and freedom of movement of Palestinians, but also serve to expand the area of land over which Israeli settlers have control."
Lynk also cited the Israel-based group Peace Now's finding that Israel issued a record high number of tenders for settlements in 2018, as well as Israel's planned eviction of Palestinians from an East Jerusalem home to make way for settlers.
"The forced transfer of protected people under occupation is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a war crime. It is also likely that it violates the guaranteed international rights to privacy and adequate housing," he added.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday openly urged a group of settlers in the occupied West Bank to ramp up their activities, telling them, "As far as I am concerned, there will be no uprooting of settlements, and there will be no cessation of [construction in the] settlements, but the exact opposite."